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war hero. new details about what led cia director david petraeus to abruptly resign. tonight the e-mails and the fbi investigation that set off a shocking chain of events. we have a winner. four days after the election, the counting is finally over in florida. more than a decade after bush versus gore, a lot of folks are wondering what's the matter with the sunshine state. power struggle. nearly two weeks since the superstorm, tensions boil over as hundreds of thousands remain without power. day of honor for the brave young girl who inspired millions with her message of empowerment. a worldwide show of support for malala. and lessons from lincoln. >> by the people, for the people. >> as our nation's 16th president hits the big screen.
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good evening. we have learned a great deal more today about what led to yesterday's abrupt resignation of cia director david petraeus. the highly decorated retired general and former war commander stepped down after admitting to an extramarital affair exposed during the course of an fbi investigation. tonight we have learned petraeus was not at all the subject of the probe, but rather it was his biographer paula broadwell who first came to the attention of investigators, leading to an unexpected discovery. law enforcement and multiple u.s. officials tell nbc news e-mails between general petraeus and broadwell were indicative of an extramarital affair. this on the heels of the presidential election, bound to raise lots of questions. we have two reports starting with nbc's andrea mitchell who was first to break the story. andrea, good evening.
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>> good evening. the scandal that's shaken the national security and intelligence world, began, officials say, with a complaint to the fbi that did not even mention david petraeus, and did not reach the white house until after the election. general david petraeus tumbled from the highest levels of government service after acknowledging what he called unacceptable behavior. an extramarital affair exposed by a cascading series of events sources say started with a seemingly unrelated complaint to the fbi. triggered by e-mails from petraeus' biographer paula broadwell to another woman not related to petraeus who felt she was being harassed and complained to the fbi. officials say in recent weeks the fbi traced the e-mails to broadwell and stumbled on the relationship with petraeus as a result. >> it's so politically sensitive that my guess is the decision was made near or at the top level of the fbi to sit down with general petraeus and have a
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discussion with him, and let him know that this information had been discovered. >> reporter: broadwell hasn't been shy about her access to petraeus, co-hosting a barbecue with jon stewart to raise money for wounded warriors in september. she spoke about her connection to the cia director, acknowledging it rubbed some the wrong way. >> i was embedded with general petraeus in afghanistan. it was confusing for folks there because i'm also a military reservist with top level clearance and then some. so a lot of my former peers didn't know how to treat me. >> reporter: according to multiple sources the investigation into broadwell's e-mails with the cia director came to a head on tuesday, election day. the first the intelligence community learned of it. the president didn't know until thursday and met with petraeus who offered to resign that day. the president said he wanted to think it over, but accepted the resignation on friday. some feel he should have let petraeus keep his job. >> there is no criminal conduct involved. it's a matter for him and his family. it's not conduct you encourage, not the best conduct obviously, but we are talking about a man
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of great talent. >> reporter: many who know petraeus say he was just coming into his own at the cia after a rocky transition from his military career. >> he was suddenly in a different kind of operation where cia officers pride themselves on being difficult, pushing back. in the early months that was difficult for petraeus. >> reporter: officials confirm tonight there is no hint of any criminal activity and that petraeus resigned because he felt he had done a dishonorable thing and it is the only honorable way to handle it was to leave. nbc is trying to reach broadwell who has not been accessible. >> we want to bring in our white house correspondent kristen welker, who's been working her sources on this story as well. as we noted this came to light just days after the election. what have you learned about how and when the white house was made aware of all of this? >> reporter: good evening, lester. here's how it unfolded at the white house. according to multiple sources the day after the president won re-election and was diving into cabinet changes and the looming
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fiscal cliff he was confronted by the unexpected challenge. the sources say on tuesday the justice department notified the head of national intelligence james clapper. then events moved quickly. clapper notified the white house wednesday. thursday morning national security adviser tom donalin made the president aware. petraeus met with the president that same afternoon and offered his resignation. mr. obama said he wanted to think about it for 24 hours. friday afternoon he accepted petraeus' resignation. now it is up to petraeus' deputy michael morel to lead the agency and face what is likely to be harsh questioning on the benghazi attack when he testified on the hill in place of petraeus, that will happen next week. morel started as an economic analyst with the cia more than 30 years ago. officials here at the white house say president obama has the utmost confidence in morel. he was one of the key people briefing the president during the planning process of the osama bin laden operation. lester? >> kristen welker at the white house tonight. thanks.
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we are four days past the presidential election. tonight the counting is finally over in the state of florida. barack obama has claimed the state's 29 electoral votes, beating mitt romney by about 74,000 votes. giving the president a 332-206 final margin in the electoral college. thankfully, this time the presidency wasn't left hanging in the balance, but a dozen years after bush versus gore, a lot of folks are wondering why florida can't get its act together. nbc's kerry sanders has our report from miami. >> reporter: as if the lines were not long ough, it took florida four days to count the more than 8 million votes. it was a squeaker. if only the ballots cast here had mattered. >> we are an american family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people. >> reporter: president obama had already won re-election without this state's prized 29 electoral votes.
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>> president obama didn't need to carry the state but the fact that two political armies of democrats and republicans fully mobilized and have a difference of only 74,000 votes tells you how competitive our politics will be for years to come. republicans will have to raise their game though in a state that once was theirs. >> reporter: while florida didn't delay the nation like it did in 2000 with its hanging chads, the state again had problems. one big complaint, florida governor rick scott would not extend early voting from eight days to the usual 14. the governor here, popular with the tea party, told reporters, what i'm trying to do is improve the way government works. i believe in efficiency. florida voters who were in line up to seven hours on election day say the entire process is embarrassing. >> they don't call it flori-duh for nothing. >> it can't be this hard. if the rest of the country can
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do it, why can't we do it? >> reporter: the other problem in florida is the ballot was complicated by 11 state constitutional amendments. they were long-winded and confusing. one political analyst says the takeaway from this election is that florida, a sun belt state that had been seesawing toward the republicans, is now seesawing back. in this case to the democrats. lester? >> kerry sanders in miami, thank you. now to the painfully slow recovery in the northeast for a lot of families left struggling after the superstorm. tonight tensions are boiling over as hundreds of thousands remain without power, in the dark and the cold nearly two weeks after the storm came ashore. meantime some families got a chance to return home for the first time today. their first look at what was left. nbc's michelle franzen is in toms river, new jersey, tonight with more. michelle, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. this is still the scene for many people.
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damaged homes like the one behind me. but power is still out in this section. you can hear the hum of generators from block the block. residents here in this section of toms river are considered lucky. they can stay overnight, repair by day. for thousands of others living along the shore and also in sandy's path, the return to home is not yet an option. in seaside heights, new jersey, long lines and a flood of emotions for residents returning to grab what they can for the few hours they had escorted in by bus. >> like a horror movie to me. >> reporter: the damaged beach side communities and homes still off limits. >> we will not allow people on the island until it's safe. >> reporter: homeowner bill doogie collected suitcases and waits on the fate of the home. >> i can't do anything to my house until i'm allowed to come back. mold will set in, more damage will occur. if i'm not allowed to come back
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for six months to rebuild, you might as well tear the house down. >> reporter: just south long beach island residents were allowed to return to their homes for good. >> this is a major disaster. >> reporter: along new jersey's battered shore there are painful reminders. recovery is a long way off. >> this is our katrina. >> reporter: in new jersey and new york more than 4,000 residents are staying in shelters. nearly a quarter of a million people are still without power nearly two weeks after the storm hit. on long island, protests and anger that the utility company lipa hasn't worked quickly enough. >> we are cold, tired and we want our power now. >> reporter: today the agency says power has been restored to 93% of long island. meanwhile new york joined new jersey ordering gas rationing rules to help reduce long lines and frustration at the pump. this as hundreds of volunteers fanned out across neighborhoods including staten island to bring relief.
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part of new york city's designated volunteer day to help the thousands still dealing with sandy's destruction and showing the victims that they are not alone. >> thank you for helping. i appreciate it. >> reporter: homeland security secretary janet napolitano is scheduled to be back tomorrow. this time to visit a disaster recovery site in staten island. meantime, residents here are still waiting for the power to come on. governor chris christie has pledged that power could be restored in all areas of new jersey by tonight. lester? >> michelle, thank you. the united nations declared this malala day named for the 15-year-old pakistani girl shot by the taliban for, because she spoke out for the education of girls. today an outpouring of support for malala and her cause from around the world. that story from nbc's amna navaz. >> reporter: they chanted her name and carried her picture. fellow students in pakistan honoring malala.
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it's not only one, we are all malala. the whole of pakistan is malala. >> my message to the female students of this country is that all of the female students should get education because education is so important. >> reporter: across the border in india, prayers for malala's recovery. in england where she's being treated supporters lit candles in her name. >> we can vote for her to win the nobel peace prize to make her cause even greater. >> reporter: a cause picked up in the months after she was shot in the head for publically campaigning for education rights. on a visit to pakistan u.n. education envoy gordon brown presented a petition with a million signatures calling for education for all. malala, he said, has become a beacon of hope. >> people who were previously silent and said nothing are now saying we cannot allow this to happen. we are going to change this. >> reporter: doctors are preparing for her next surgery, but they say she continues to make remarkable recovery.
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this week her hospital in birmingham released a new video documenting the recovery with malala reading some of the cards and thousands of messages from around the world. >> i'm thankful -- >> reporter: her father spoke in a video on her behalf. >> she wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women and children from across the world are interested in her well-being. >> reporter: back home her classmates gathered at school in her honor while two friends, also wounded in the attack, sent a message saying we are praying she gets better and comes back to our school. something malala's father says she hopes to do soon. nbc news, new york. still ahead as nbc "nightly news" continues, late details on a scandal that just tonight brought down the head of a media empire. explosive allegations against a popular tv host and the fallout leaving viewers stunned. later the walrus, penguins
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and a big rescue mission after the storm.
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back now with a still developing story out of london tonight. what began with a child sex abuse scandal involving a well known tv personality spiralled into false allegations that wrongly implicated a british politician. and tonight, it's all led to a major shake-up at the top of britain's state-run broadcaster, the bbc. michelle kosinski is covering it
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for us tonight in london. good evening. >> reporter: this has been brewing here for weeks. first a bbc investigation on one of its own legendary tv stars was cancelled. then last night an apology for another bbc report about alleged sex abuse. now late tonight its director general resigned. the head of the british broadcasting corporation ended a two decade long career there like this. >> the honorable thing to do is step down from the post of director general. >> reporter: earlier today he was grilled by his company's own journalists. >> people have to answer for what they did. >> reporter: this started last month when there was an investigations about dozens, now possibly hundreds of sex abuse allegations directed at jimmy savell, the wildly popular bbc presenter, now deceased. it emerged the bbc was investigating the same story but
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abruptly stopped it, prompting new allegations against bbc management of a cover-up. then things went from bad to worse when last week the same bbc investigative program news night aired a segment alleging at least one top politician from the margaret thatcher era was also being accused of abusing children. the bbc didn't name him but when it surfaced on the internet the alleged victim realized he accused the wrong man and retracted part of the story. bbc news night also apologized. >> tonight this program apologizes. >> reporter: this has stunned the british public. >> we are into new territory where i don't think people know what to believe anymore. >> reporter: the bbc's prior director general mark thompson is scheduled to become the chief executive of the new york times starting monday. he maintains he did not know at the time what the bbc's investigation into jimmy savell was about. lester? >> michelle kosinski in london. thank you.
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when we come back, the race to save the animals when the superstorm came ashore.
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we are back now with some of the untold rescue missions before, during and after superstorm sandy came ashore nearly two weeks ago knocking out power and flooding aquariums along the coast of new york and new jersey but thankfully sparing most of the animals. we get the story tonight from mara schiavocampo. >> reporter: though it's filled with the wonders of the sea, during hurricane sandy, the ocean devastated coney island's new york aquarium. >> my first thought was we lost the aquarium. >> reporter: as sandy pounded the coastline the storm surge flooded one of the oldest
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aquariums. >> all of our electrical equipment was gone. so there was no precedent for what we were going to do. >> reporter: electrical equipment controlling key life support systems, sustaining the aquarium's 12,000 fish and marine mammals including one new resident. last month an orphaned baby walrus was brought to the aquarium. he was found off the coast of alaska and needed 24-hour medical care. the new york aquarium isn't alone. >> we were checking the basement to see if we had water and we heard a huge whoosh. >> reporter: jenkinson's aquarium in point pleasant, new jersey, lost almost all of its holding tanks and heating equipment. >> this is all part of the penguin exhibit. we have generators running life support. >> reporter: two weeks after sandy hit, jenkinson's is still without power. back at coney island in the days after the storm, employees got a chance to check on the animals. the baby walrus provided their
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first glimmer of hope. >> he's swimming on his back, vocalizing, having a great time. >> reporter: most of the animals from fish to otters were alive and healthy. 90% survived the storm. >> an extraordinary moment where what we have been working for could be brought back and we could reclaim it and say, there's hope here. there's hope. >> reporter: saving precious marine life from the fury of the sea. mara schiavocampo, nbc news, new york. up next tonight america's 16th president gets the spielberg treatment.
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finally tonight days after our nation's 44th president was re-elected to a second term the spotlight turns to america's 16th president -- at the movies at least. abraham lincoln getting the big screen treatment courtesy of steven spielberg. here's nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: he may have started out the poor self-educated son of homesteaders, but for thousands of school children who visit the museum honoring his presidency every week abraham lincoln remains a beacon whose convictions shaped a nation. >> he did a lot for our country. we can learn from the past to help improve what our future is going to be. >> reporter: at 6'4" abraham lincoln was a tall man of even greater historic stature. >> he did a lot, especially for my culture as far as with the emancipation proclamation and his thoughts and ideas of how to
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really run our country. i thought it was pretty cool. >> reporter: presidents may not have been considered cool in the 1860s, but this one is about to become a hollywood star. >> i like our chances now. >> reporter: a century and a half after his death, lincoln is impeccably portrayed by daniel day-lewis. >> still to afford this moment now, now, now. >> reporter: the film has been a decade-long labor of love for director steven spielberg. >> lincoln advocated things we hold dear today. he advocated the government can be a positive force for the good of all people. >> reporter: no coincidence perhaps the film opens the week america's 21st century president won re-election in difficult times fraught with partisan bickering. times in which many ask what would lincoln do? >> in lincoln you had a president who was very eager to unify the country dealing with a congress that had all sorts of acrimonious factions.
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somehow lincoln had the genius to get everyone to work together. >> reporter: the united states may have come a long way from four score and seven years ago, but lincoln is still teaching its children. >> i think abraham lincoln is good. he was a big part of freedom and what this country is today. >> he didn't like slavery. he wanted to stop slavery. >> i like his top hat. >> reporter: a big man with, yes, a big hat who casts a shadow over the nation he fought so hard to unite. kevin tibbles, springfield, illinois. >> that's nbc "nightly news" for this saturday. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. i'll see you tomorrow on "today" and right back here tomorrow evening. good night, everyone.
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good evening, i'm diane dwyer. a memorial is scheduled for tonight for a 15-year-old boy who was killed two years ago. his parents found him dead in their back yard, and they want his two classmates who were arrested in the case to face a jury. nbc bay area's kimberly tere has more

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